12 February 2015 | lor_
Porn meets Playhouse 90
Anthony Spinelli ranks at or near the very top of the list of great pornographers and IN THE BUSH is an interesting latter-day title in his filmography (or videography). Along with his strange A.W.O.L. this is an unsettling and oddly serious (at times) war-related feature.
Bob Chinn's WWII classic TROPIC OF DESIRE sets the bar high for this genre, and Spinelli certainly can't compare with that one, especially shooting cheaply on video. This one's set in 1967 in Vietnam where grunts Sean Michaels and Jon Dough are sitting in a waiting room waiting to be serviced by some whore as r&r. Michaels refers to their being "in purgatory" and I actually thought he was being literal (a la ending of DEVIL IN MISS JONES), since the video plays out in a downbeat "no exit" mode.
While they await a third soldier, Steve Hatcher, gets serviced by $5 a pop Oriental whore Melinda Masglow. Back in the waiting room this schizophrenic (dramatic acting/dialog scenes vs. standard porno sex scenes) video concentrates on the verbal outbursts between our two incompatible heroes. Michaels, in one of his best all-time screen performances, is Mr. Motormouth, haranguing and baiting Dough, who he nicknames Wonder Bread. Racial tension later surfaces when Dough calls him by a slur in a fit of anger. Their two-hander drama is directed like a little one-act play, the claustrophobic TV counterpart of which was seen weekly in the '50s on the classic "Playhouse 90" series.
But of course lengthy sex scenes are what matter and they drag IN THE BUSH down into the gutter its name implies. Lorenzo (Sean Michaels) has a flashback of better days back in Brooklyn with girl friend Isis, styled here as quite lovely and oddly resembling Rita Moreno (!). Their humping scene is well-done though shot mainly in tight closeups
As J.T. (John Thomas), Dough remembers a pal giving him a present of two women, and the troilism/lesbian sex scene featuring Tina Tyler and an actress I had previously seen opposite Michaels (TOOTSIE POLE) but forgotten: Krista. Sean recalls his last r&r in bed with a sexy Oriental girl Kitty Yung.
Dough's mind wanders back to his departure for war, and a hot sex scene with Sarah Jane Hamilton, one of the finest English Rose imports that American fans like to see get down and dirty.
The generally depressing video exercise has an open ending and I was impressed overall with its ambition. I can see why it has been forgotten 20 years later, with changing fan tastes in leading ladies plus the indigestible aspect of trying to merge high & low art into a single package.